Spriggs off to the links at Shawnee State

Pictured at the April 27 signing ceremony are: Front row, from left, Julie Spriggs (mother), Jade Spriggs, Charlie Spriggs (father); Back row, from left, SSU Golf Coach Dave Hopkins, North Adams Athletic Director Tony Williams, and North Adams HS Principal Matt Young.  Photo by Mark Carpenter
Pictured at the April 27 signing ceremony are: Front row, from left, Julie Spriggs (mother), Jade Spriggs, Charlie Spriggs (father); Back row, from left, SSU Golf Coach Dave Hopkins, North Adams Athletic Director Tony Williams, and North Adams HS Principal Matt Young. Photo by Mark Carpenter

By Mark Carpenter

Yet another local student athlete has made a decision about her future as North Adams senior Jade Spriggs recently held a signing ceremony at the high school to make her choice known. In an April 27 signing attended by family and school officials, Spriggs inked her name to a letter of intent to become a member of the inaugural women’s golf team at Shawnee State University.

The choice may have come as a surprise to many who have followed Spriggs’ high school career, as she has been awarded numerous times for her efforts on the softball field as one of the top pitchers in southeast Ohio, but at Shawnee, she will be taking her talents to the links.

“Playing golf in college is just going to be less demanding than softball schedule would be,” Spriggs told The Defender at the signing ceremony. “I want to go to school for Occupational Therapy and there really weren’t many schools that had that program and Shawnee has the full program. I actually sent the coach my softball player profile and then he contacted me because he saw the golf accomplishments on there too.”

The boys and now girls golf programs at Shawnee State are coached by a familiar face to many sports fans in southeast Ohio, Dave Hopkins, who is often seen in local gymnasiums as a high school basketball official and is a teacher at Portsmouth Middle School.

“Talk about things that are meant to be,” said Hopkins. “I had seen some golf scores on Jade and inquired a bit but thought she was going the softball route, so I didn’t really pursue it. My brother happened to be in the hospital and some lady told him about a young lady down at North Adams that’s a pretty good golfer and might be interested. I got back in touch then with North Adams Athletic Director Tony Williams and Jade and her parents and actually watched a softball game. I watched the whole game and could instantly see that Jade was an athlete.”

“Now we get her for just one sport and I know she will continue to improve. We’re starting a women’s program after having a men’s program for 28 years. We have six young ladies signed on to play and they will learn and work together side by side with our men’s team. It’s always great to be something for the first time.”

“We’ll play about 4-5 tournaments in the fall and 4-5 tournaments in the spring. It’s just exciting to start something from scratch.”

North Adams will be losing one of the mainstays of their girls’ golf squad and Coach Rachel Herman appreciates the effort she received from Spriggs on the course.

“Jade was a four-year athlete in golf and has always shown a dedication to the game,” said Herman. “She would show up early to practice or stay late on a regular basis and it showed in her scores. Jade played in the number one position on the team and led us to the districts last fall for the first time in school history.”

“She is a hard worker on and off the course and I am very proud of the young woman she has become.”